There are always loads of big talking points at Reading And Leeds Festivals every year. In 2014, they included Blink 182’s pop-punk regression, Jamie T’s hush-hush return and Arctic Monkeys continuing their swaggering reign. Who will get tongues wagging at this year’s festivals? With just over a week to go, we’ve selected 10 predictions from the line-up.
When The Libertines played second fiddle to Arcade Fire a few years ago, it was meant to be their glorious return. In truth, it wasn’t as good as it could have been. This is their time to really prove themselves, and with a new album under their belts and a handful of incendiary festival appearances so far this summer, you wouldn’t bet against Pete, Carl, John and Gary doing just that.
Mumford & Sons
Who would have thought when Marcus Mumford and his merry gang first emerged in a bustle of tweed and banjos that one day they’d be headlining Reading And Leeds? But, as one of the biggest bands in the world, they’ve bagged themselves one of this year’s top spots. Love them or loathe them, it’s an impressive feat and their set is bound to provoke the strongest of emotions from those in attendance, from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Their place as headliners at Glastonbury 2014 may have raised a few eyebrows, but Reading And Leeds is more of a home for Metallica. Still, their incredible Worthy Farm set proved they’ve still more than got fire in the bellies 34 years on, and they’re not going to dampen things down just because the twin festivals are more in their comfort zone.
In 2015, Alt-J have already headlined Latitude and sold out both London’s O2 Arena and New York’s Madison Square Garden. They’re not quite top of the pile over bank holiday weekend, but their masterclass in how to put on a mesmerising but minimal live show will still be one of the big highlights at Richfield Avenue and Bramham Park.
After five years in the indie wilderness, Jamie T returned to Reading And Leeds last year with a secret set in the Festival Republic tent. It was one of his first gigs back, and the crowd – which spilled far behind the tent’s sides – responded with fitting hunger for his kitchen sink observations and Clash-inspired gobby punk. This year he plays third from top on the main stage – his biggest slot at the festivals so far – but that just means there’s more room for the carnage to spread.
Boy Better Know
The grime resurgence has become the soundtrack of the summer and the headline set of Boy Better Know – the collective founded by Wiley, Skepta and JME – on the BBC Radio 1 Dance stage is likely to be absolutely rammed from the get-go. Lethal Bizzle, Stormzy and more also feature elsewhere on the bill so there’ll be plenty of opportunity to get your grime fix.
The Brighton duo had a thunderous year in 2014 so it’s only right they bring their heavy riffing anthems to a slot high up the bill. With only Bring Me The Horizon and Metallica above them, Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher will be out to show they have what it takes to headline in the very near future.
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Kendrick’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ album has been called “the Great American hip-hop album”, despite only having been released in March. He’ll do his best to justify those claims as he provides main support for The Libertines.
Dan Smith’s chart-topping synth-pop group join Alt-J and Mumfords on the line-up as bands who don’t necessarily match the DNA at the core of Reading And Leeds, but are bound to be one of the weekend’s more divisive acts. Will Bastille win over the rock crowd or fall flat?
The new guard take over
Each year, one or two new bands really make their mark, with tent-bursting crowds and career-defining performances. This year, there’s three bands who look set to cement their places in R&L history, and they’re all on the NME/BBC Radio 1 stage on the same day. Catfish & The Bottlemen are the more established of the three, while Wolf Alice and Slaves are bound to capitalise on the big years they’ve already had by completely decimating the competition.